A Ground Dweller

Copyright © 2012 Deborah M. Zajac. All Rights Reserved.

Yesterday I had the pleasure of hanging out in Muir Woods National Monument with several photography friends. Several of them had hoped to see owls, but we hadn’t seen or heard any in the 4 hours we had been in the forest. When we met a fellow photographer Dennis A. and he heard there was an interest in seeing owls he kindly shared with us the location where several pairs of Burrowing Owls live.

My friend Dali who is an avid Raptor/bird photographer was eager to go to see if we could find them, and find them we did. (see his photo of the Burrowing Owl here)

I first spotted the pair and thought they might be Ground Squirrels, but as we pulled around I saw they were a pair of Burrowing Owls perched just outside their nest, and partially hidden by a little patch of tall grass. They’re adorable!

After parking the car and grabbing our gear we quickly but cautiously made our way to the nest. Once spotted the female dove into the burrow, while the male stood guarding the entrance. Not expecting to do any bird photography I wasn’t carrying my longest lens yesterday, so I was not able to get as close a shot as I would have liked, but getting as close as I dared I fired a few shots before the male dove into the burrow. Here he is just before he dove into the burrow.

Once in the burrow the male kept his head out keeping watch. He’s all eyes and beak!

It was quite exciting to see them. This is the first time I’ve ever seen Burrowing Owls.

We crept just a bit too close for his comfort and he disappeared down the burrow not to be seen again.

Dennis said there are several pairs living in this field, and we did spot another pair but they must have received word that we were about because before we even neared half the distance between us and them they dove into their burrow.

While wandering around looking for the owls we did see turtles sunbathing along an irrigation canal. That was an unexpected surprise.

Dennis A. here’s a huge “SHOUT OUT!”  for sharing with me and a couple of friends the location to these Burrowing Owls that have made a field in Vacaville, CA. home. Thank you!!!

Nikon D700| Nikkor 180mm f2.8| Induro CT213 Tripod

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